You’ve got to give President Obama this much: his health-care plan might be the most comprehensive failure in the history of American government. Never before has a program tried to control so much, at such soaring expense, and utterly failed in every single way. Insurance is getting less affordable for many Americans; plans are getting wiped out left and right, contrary to Obama’s promises; the quality of medical care is declining as provider networks contract, also contrary to Obama’s promises; the cost of the Affordable Care Act is soaring high enough to make its original cost estimates look ridiculous; and the insurance industry has been hollowed out enough to enter the bailout zone.
But perhaps worst of all, there are new studies that show uninsured Americans are profoundly uninterested in ObamaCare. The ostensible point of this hideously expensive exercise – the way it was sold to the American people – was the desperate need to bring insurance coverage to those left in the cold by the old system. A trillion dollars later, it turns out most of the uninsured would rather stay out in the cold.
Fox News reports:
Only one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private plans through the new health insurance marketplaces enrolled as of last month, according to a survey by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
The McKinsey survey found that only 27 percent of people who have selected a plan on the exchanges described themselves as having previously been without insurance. That percentage is up from 11 percent a month earlier, the report said.
The Obama administration has said 4 million people have signed up for private coverage through the insurance exchanges although it is not known how many of them had been uninsured.
The reason “it is not known how many of them had been uninsured” is that the Obama Administration doesn’t want to know. Somehow the vast army of highly-paid bureaucrats at the massive Department of Health and Human Services “forgot” to add a checkbox to the online form, asking if ObamaCare applicants were previously uninsured. That’s why we have to rely on outside studies to guess at the numbers.
“That’s not a data point that we are really collecting in any sort of systematic way,” a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid official admitted to reports. Oh, really? Because that’s the entire point of this stupid, illegal program. (At this point, ObamaCare is more fairly described as a violation of the law, rather than a “law,” given how many times the President has illegally altered it on the fly.) CMS is pointedly refusing to collect the data needed to make an important judgment about the program’s success. How conveeeeeenient.
The Washington Post has a hilarious quote from a different CMS official who acknowledges that, yeah, keeping track of how many uninsured people buy into ObamaCare is kind of important, so various tea leaves, chicken bones, Ouija boards, and maybe a Magic 8-Ball will eventually be consulted to cook up some kind of number:
???We are a looking at a range of data sources to determine how many marketplace enrollees previously had coverage,??? said Julie Bataille, director of the Office of Communications at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HHS agency overseeing the new insurance marketplaces. ???Previous insurance coverage is an important metric, and we hope to have additional information in the future,??? she said.
In the absence of information from people who have enrolled, Obama administration officials have drawn attention to recent outside polls that suggest that the overall number of uninsured Americans is declining. It is not clear, however, whether the trend is because of the health-care law or other reasons.
“It is not clear” will soon become the favorite phrase of sweaty ObamaCare defenders, because clarity is their mortal enemy. Everything “clear” about the effects of the Affordable Care Act is horrifying.
How about the state exchanges? Are they keeping track of the uninsured? Well, whaddya know, all but one of the state exchanges made the same mistake as the federal government, and just plumb forgot to ask ACA customers if they were previously uninsured. And that one state, New York, made a point of mixing Medicaid enrollees into its number… which makes it utterly meaningless for judging the success of ObamaCare. It should be a federal crime, punishable by immediate termination without benefits, for anyone in any federal or state agency to mix Medicaid numbers into an ObamaCare statistic.
Experts agree that the high cost of ACA policies is one of the big reasons the uninsured aren’t biting, which should not come as a surprise. People who didn’t want to buy the old, cheaper, better policies aren’t going to shell out more money to buy insurance with higher deductibles, smaller provider networks, and a boatload of mandates that don’t make sense… sold through a crabby network of federal and state computer systems that still aren’t completely operational, despite years of preparations and over a billion dollars in total expense.
The Democrats who perpetrated ObamaCare maintained that uninsured Americans were victims of an uncaring system, but the number of truly “hardcore” uninsured was always far smaller than they claimed. Quite a few people simply didn’t want to buy insurance, and while some of them might have benefited from education and outreach – which private insurance firms could be given proper economic incentives to provide – there are a lot of people who made rational decisions not to pay for health insurance. Nothing about the Affordable Care Act is likely to change their assessment. In almost every respect, it’s doing the opposite of what would be necessary to expand private insurance markets deep into the ranks of previously uninterested customers.
This really should be the final nail in ObamaCare’s coffin. The last stand for its defenders was the argument that sure, most of American hates this law and they’re suffering because of it – calling out sympathetic ObamaCare victims as “liars” sure as hell didn’t do the Democrats any good – but it’s all worthwhile for the Greater Good, because millions of Americans will get insurance coverage for the first time. That isn’t happening. It’s long past time to pull the plug on this disaster and start from scratch with reasonable reforms.